From an article by Allan E. Goodman in the current issue of Foreign Affairs.
The most hotly debated intelligence failure of the 1970s was the Iran debacle. . . .
The episode caused Carter to send the following handwritten note to then Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, (national security adviser Zbigniew) Brzezinski, and then Director of Central Intelligence Admiral Stansfield Turner: "To Cy, Zbig, Stan -- I am not satisfied with the quality of our political intelligence. Assess our assets and, as soon as possible, give me a report concerning our abilities in the most important areas of the world. Make a joint recommendation on what we should do to improve your ability to give me information and advice."
At the senior level, and prodded by a political intelligence working group composed of the deputy secretary of state for political affairs and the deputy assistant to the president for national security, new priorities were set for political intelligence in 40 countries whose stability was judged directly to affect major American interests. The group recommended more resources to hire expert political analysts -- not collectors -- and decreed greater coordination in the collection of political intelligence between the Foreign Service and the intelligence community.
The only tangible result achieved by the group, however, was a substantial expansion of reporting requirements that fell largely on clandestine collectors because the Foreign Service was not given the staff resources to respond. And there was virtually no change in the analytic methods and mid-level management by which intelligence analysis was produced and reviewed.